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Wednesday, Apr 23, 2014

Short List: Live like James Bond in the Tampa Bay area

Published:   |   Updated: March 14, 2013 at 12:17 AM

Welcome to The Short List. Each week we'll pick a topic and share our favorite — or, in some cases, maybe our least favorite — things about the Bay area.

James Bond is celebrating 50 years on the big screen with the release of "Skyfall" this week, and we won't deny that we've spent a considerable amount of time fantasizing about stepping into the shoes of the British super spy. That's why we've rounded up five ways that anyone can do just that, without straying too far from Tampa area.

Drive an exotic ride — Bond has driven a variety of lust-worthy cars (Lotus Esprit, Mustang Mach 1, BMW Z8), but no automaker is as connected to 007 as Aston Martin. Prestige Luxury Rentals will put you behind the wheel of a 420-horsepower Aston Martin Vantage convertible for about $1,100 a day, including delivery and pickup at your Tampa home. On a budget? Browse the Bentleys, Rolls Royces and Aston Martins at the Dimmit St. Petersburg dealership, and try not to drool.

Shoot to kill — In "Skyfall," Bond's iconic Walther PPK, semi-automatic pistol is coded to his palm print, so that only he can fire it. Shoot Straight Clearwater doesn't have that version (yet!), but they will rent you a Walther PPK to shoot on their indoor range. You must become a member for $35, but your first gun rental is free. Amateur? Shoot Straight has concealed weapons permit classes to teach you everything. They do not issue licenses to kill. 

Dress better than everyone — A few basics of Bond style: Sleek, dark colors, slim-fitting cuts and a very clean shave. Forget buying off the rack, Kirby's Menswear in Tampa has tailors that will size you up and create a made-to-measure suit, sport coat, tux or dress shirt. On a budget? Put on  some swim trunks, douse yourself in water and channel your inner Daniel Craig. 

Drink like a spy — Bond's love of martinis, shaken not stirred, is legendary, but he's also sipped an old fashioned, a negroni and countless glasses of champagne in the movies. Hit the bar at Bern's Steak House. Like Bond, it's classic, and the bartenders take their cocktails seriously. Also, the opulent red and gold entryway could totally be a bond villain's foyer. On a budget? Slum it with a Heineken like Bond does in "Skyfall."

Do something death defying — Has there ever been a better entrance than this summer's Olympic opening ceremonies, when Bond surprised the London crowd by parachuting out of a helicopter. Jump Florida Skydiving Center in Lake Wales will let you experience the rush of free falling from 11,000 feet up with a $199 tandem dive. Bring someone to play Queen Elizabeth. Scared of heights? iFLY in Orlando offers "indoor skydiving" in their vertical wind tunnel. 

Yeah, we know. You think we're clueless because we didn't include your favorite idea on our list, right? Tell us about it at, search: Short List